Latest version: February 03, 2023, 08:47 IST
Last year, Hansal Mehta narrated Faraz under the same umbrella as his previous films Shaheed (2012) and Omerta (2017). All three films have several things in common—a modern-day Muslim man struggling with the concept of religion in modern times. Much like Shahid and Omreta, Hansal comes out of a real-life incident with Faraz and yet again delivers a powerful movie. However, at some points, it seems like he’s taking it too far.
For the uninitiated, Faraj is inspired by the attack on the Holy Artisan Bakery in Bangladesh that took place in July 2016. In the film, a fringe group attacks a restaurant in Dhaka, killing 29 people. Although a victim named Faraz Ayaz Hussain (played by Jahan Kapoor in the film) is allowed to leave because of his religion, he refuses to leave his two friends behind. This leads to the death of him and his friends.
Hansal takes no time to dive into the action. Given bare minimum time to connect with the characters, the director throws you in the middle of a traumatic attack with his actors. Raghav Kakkar, Kashyap Kapoor, and Ritesh Shah’s brutally raw writing and realistic cinematography are Faraj’s biggest tools that Hansol uses to get under your skin. While the filmmaker’s focus seems to be exploring and the world’s influence on five young minds, it also tries to capture the bigger picture—bureaucracy, power games and the blame game played by the parties involved. The narrative shies away from adding unnecessary doses of drama, tries to describe the hostage situation as much as possible and only delivers hard-hitting lines where needed.
In a way, Farage makes for a tight watch, without wasting time on unnecessary subplots and drama. Clocking in at less than two hours, Hansal packs everything in, perhaps making Farage one of his crispest films. Due to the tight script, Farage doesn’t give you time to look away from the screen. However, it also backfires in the title role as there aren’t enough compelling scenes for viewers to connect with Farage. The film seems to lean heavily towards Nibras (Aditya Rawal), defeating the purpose of the movie’s title. The film could have had a few more scenes to inspire the audience with Farage’s self-sacrifice.
Cinematographer Pratham Mehta is assisting in the writing of the film. While he doesn’t capture the brutality of the massacre without emotion, there are scenes that leave you suffocated, as if you were in a room with hostages and gasping for air. Having said that, Pratham and Hansal take things a little too far in some scenes, making you look away during the gore scenes and hope it ends soon.
Another complaint that people may have is sound quality. While Hansal tries to make the scenes as authentic as possible by whispering the stars’ dialogues and low-volume conversations, the sound is so low that you can’t understand what the character is saying.
The film is well handled by the lead and supporting actors. Faraj features a bunch of new faces — Aditya Rawal, Jahan Kapoor, Sachin Lalwani, Jatin Sarin, Ninad Bhatt, Harshal Pawar, Palak Lalwani and Resham Sahani — who follow Hansal’s direction to a tee. Aditya holds up the film by shifting gears quickly to show his character’s troubled mind. Meanwhile, Jahan was showing great potential like his grandfather Shashi Kapoor when he started acting in films like Dharmaputra (1961), The Householder (1963) and Waqt (1965). I look forward to seeing what he does next.
But Juhi Babbar’s superb performance as Faraz’s mother leaves you feeling theatrical. Juhi as the mother tries to pull all the strings possible to save her son only to finally surrender and take pride in her sacrifice, leaving a strong mark on the film.
A special shout out to Sachin Lalwani, who played Rohan and successfully managed to annoy me with his character. The last time I felt this way was when I saw Arturo in Money Heist and all I could think was when is this character going to die?
Bottomline: Faraz is a trademark of Hansal Mehta films and not for the faint of heart. The film is bound to leave you bored and empty at the end. Watch this if you love Shaheed and Omreta.
Read all latest movie news here